Friday, 7 August 2015

Work and play!

So one of the benefits of my role managing a team in Dorset is that this includes National Nature Reserve (NNR) staff, in particular, those that manage the Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs NNR.

For those of you unfamiliar (I was!), this is a stunning stretch of the Jurassic World Heritage Site coast from Axmouth to Lyme Regis (taking in the world-famous Monmouth Beach ammonite pavement). The undercliffs themselves are a series of constantly slipping blocks of clay. sand and chalk, creating amazing ravines, micro-habitats and rock formations, but making for dangerous walking. Indeed, one part of the south west coast path is still shut here. It's certainly an experience having a guided tour by the NNR staff, with the chosen route yesterday taking in a couple of ascents by short lengths of rope!

It has beautiful views of the coast and turquoise sea, with pockets of extremely diverse chalk grassland and moist fern-rich woodland.

The other end of the reserve at Lyme Regis plays host to the most accessible fossil-hunting stretch, including the ammonite pavement, where you walk on hundreds of these ancient fossils - quite spectacular. As a fossil hunter myself, this trip combined work and play! Last weekend it held the first ever fossilblitz (like a bioblitz but with fossils!) recording over a 1000 records - a great way to get the community and visitors involved.

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